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U dreds of Years Experience of the Tides, he could
not be caught, as he was, through Ignorance, “ nor by any foreknown or natural Accident, but by « God's powerful hand only. If Moses had taken the "Advantage and Opportunity of the Tide, he must
have left all that-End of the Red-Sea toward Sues
on his Left-hand, dry and uncover'd, and when u Pharaoh found the Flood increasing, he might in his
Return have gone before the Tide on his Right« hand. Those Words of the Scriptures, that God
caused the Sea to run back by a strong East-wind, do « rather prove the Miracle, than that thereby was “ caus'd an Ebb more than ordinary: For that Sea « did not lie East and Welt, but in effect North and « South, and it must have been a West and North« Weft-Wind, that must have driven those Waters
away through their proper Channels, and to the " South-east into the Sea. But the East-Wind blew « athwart the Sea, and cut it afunder, so as one part és fell back towards the South, and main Body there 4 of; the other part remain’d towards Sues and the « North : which being unknown to Pharaoh, while 4 he was check’d by chat Sea, which used in all times 4 before to ebb away, the Flood press’d him and 6 overwhelm'd him.
Atthe giving of the Law, the whole People of If rael had warning given them three days before, that they might fančtify and prepare themselves to make their Appearance before the Lord : All the people faw the thundrings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and beheld the Mountain smoaking: and the Lord fpake, in the Audience of the whole Affembly, the Words of the Ten Commandments ; and they were ftruck with fuch a Terrour, that they removed and stood afar off, and desired Moses that he would ac quaint them with what God should be pleas'd to give him in Command concerning them, that they might no longer hear God speaking to them, left they fhould die, Exod. xx. i8. Deut. V, 22. The cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the fight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys, Exod. xl. 38. Whether it were two days, or a month, or a year that the cloud tarried upon the tas bernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not : but when it was taken up, they journeyed, Num. ix. 22. From the time of their escape out of Ægypt, the Pillar of the Cloud by day, and the Pillar of Fire by night; the Manna with which they were fed, during the whole time of their journeying in the Wilderness, till the yery day after they had eaten of the corn of the land of Canaan, Exod. xvi. 35. Josh. v. 12. and their Garments lasting for so long a time, without any decay, Deut. xxix. 5. these were constant and perpetual Miracles for forty years together; and it is the most impossible thing in the world to suppose, that a People consisting of so many Hundred Thousands, should for so long a time be imposed upon in things of this nature: their Eyes, and Taste, and all their Senses were Witnesles, that they were conducted and fed and cloath'd by Miracle, for forty Years together.
Indeed, it was impossible to lead so great a Multitude, through a vast and barren Wilderness, by so long and tedious Journeys, without the help of Miracles. If they had been under no other distress but Want of Food, in so barren a place, it had been impossible for any number of Men, and much more for To vast a Multitude, to subsist for any time, without a Miracle: but they were fed with Manna from Heaven; not with such as the Manna is which is now any where to be found, which is a kind of Honey-dew; but with Manna which was fit for Nourishment, not for Physick, and so hard as to be ground in Mills, and beaten in Mortars, and baked in Pans, Num. xi, 8. and yet it was melted by the Sun, and bred Worms and stunk, if it were kept but one night, except it were on the Night before the Sabbath; though again, when it was to be preserv'd for a Memorial to future Generations, nothing was more lasting; and it fell on every Day of the Week but the Sabbath. The Manna therefore which is now, of what sort soever it be, is of a quite different Nature from this Miraculous Man nia, (tho' it have its Name from it) as a learned Phyfician n has proved. But if the Manna in it self had been natural and common Manna ; yet that it should have Qualities which no other Manna ever had, that its Fall thould be constant, as Moses foretold, but with as constant Intermission upon one particular Day every Week, according to his Predi&ion; this could not be without a manifeft Miracle: Thus the Water flowing from the Rock was like other Water, but the manner of producing it was evidently miraculous. Their Water was as miraculous as their Food, and their Cloathing as either ; neither their Rayment decay'd, nor their Bread and Water faild, 'till they arrivd in the promised Land.
The March of the Greek Army out of Afia, under the Conduct of Xenophon, after the Death of Cyrus, is look'd upon as a thing scarce to be equal'd in all human Story, tho' that whole Expedition was but for one year, and three Months; and the Difficulties they met with were nothing, in comparison of those that beset the Israelites on every side, in that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, Deut. viii. 15. a land of desarts, and of pits, of drought, and of the shadow of the death; a land that no man paled thrcugh, and where no man dwelt, Jer. ii. 6. Nothing but a Power of Miracles could have sustain’d them; and nothing but the Sense of it could have kept them within any Bounds of Duty and Obedience.
n Jo. Chryf. Magnen. de Manna, C. 2.
- We see how froward and rebellious they were upon all Occasions, notwithstanding the wonderful Power and Presence of God continually manifest amongst them; they would have been content with the Ægyptian Slavery, and the Ægyptian Gods too, rather than endure the Hardships of the Wilderness. Mofes com plains, that they were almost ready to stone him, Exod. xvii. 4. and out of despondency, pray'd, that God would kill him out of hand, rather than lay so great a Burthen
him: And Moses said, The people among fik whom I am, are fix hundred thousand footmen : and thou haft said, I will give them flesh, that they may eat a whole month. Shall your flocks and your herds be liain for them, to suffice them? or fall all the fish of the sea be gathered toget ther for them, to suffice them? Num. xi. 15, 21, 22: Whoever can believe, that Mofes, by his own Skill and Management, could lead such a Multitude through such a Wilderness, so many Years Journey, can, it seems, believe any thing rather than the Scriptures; for this is one of the most incredible things that can be conceiv'd; but it is not in the least incredible, that he might do it by the Divine Power and Afliftance.
The Children of Israel tempted God ten times, by their Murmurings, and their Distrust of his Power and Care over them, Num xiv. 22. for which, many of them were punish'd with Death ; 'till at last, the whole Number of Men that were Twenty Years old and upwards, had this Judgment denounc'd against them, That, for their Murmurings, but two of them, by Name Caleb the Son of Jephunneh, and Foshua the Son of Nun, should be sutter'd to enter into the Promised Land, and the rest should all die in the Wilderness; but that after Forty Years wandring in the Wilderness, their Children should be brought in to pofsess it: I the Lord have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil cengregation, that are gathered together against me : in, this wildernefs they shall be consumed, and there
shall they die, Num. xiv. 35. And the Men who were fent out to search the Land, and brought the evil Report upon it, died forthwith by the plague, before the Lord, ver. 37. and these Men were the Heads of the Children of Israel, a Man of every Tribe being chosen out, every one a Ruler amongst them, chap. xiii. 2, 3, and but two of them agreed in giving the true Aca count of the Land; so great an Aversion they had to proceed any farther in their way thither : And all the congregation lifted up their voice and cried : and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murs mured against Moses, and against Aaron : and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Ægypt, or would God we had died in this wilderness. And wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey ? Were it not better for us to rem turn into Ægypt? And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Ægypt. And all the Congregation were for stoning Joshua and Caleb, if they had not been hindred by the glory of the Lord appearing in the tabernacle of the congregation, before all the children of Israel, Num. xiv. 1, 2, 3, 4, 10. Now, upon so general a Defe&tion, to pronounce peremptorily, that but Two by Name, of so many Thousands Thould inherit the Land of Promise, and that all the rest should die in that very Wilderness which they complained so much of; and that no less than Forty Years were to be spent in that wandring Condition, of which they were already so weary. This is such a Method of quelling fo general a Discontent and Mutiny, as never was heard of before nor since, and which could proceed from nothing less than a Wisdom and Authority which could check and control the most combined and inveterate Perverseness of Men and a Power which struck the Spreaders of this false Report with immediate Death, before their Eyes, for an Example of that Vengeance which they must